Cardinals’ Tay Gowan an undervalued late-round NFL Draft pick, says ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals added not one but two cornerbacks through the 2021 NFL Draft.
While general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury consider fourth-rounder Marco Wilson their biggest steal, ESPN has six-round pick Tay Gowan as one of the NFL’s most undervalued draft additions.
Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner, for ESPN, compiled a list of the late-round draftees, focusing on Day 3 steals.
Gowan’s draft stock took a hit because of the sheer lack of tape. After transferring from Miami (Ohio), Gowan played one season at UCF before opting out in 2020.
In 2019, though, Gowan was one of the highest-graded corners in the country. That season, he allowed only 20 completions on 50 targets for 274 yards with two picks and seven pass breakups. And in man coverage, Gowan allowed only five completions on 12 targets for 71 yards on 107 coverage snaps. He has the kind of length and speed that can hold up on the outside in the NFL as well.
According to Pro Football Focus, Gowan allowed just a 26.6 passer rating in single coverage since 2019, the second-lowest in college football over that span.
Cardinals get a top-100 player in the 6th round: Tay Gowan, UCF CB
He allowed 25 yards or fewer in 9 of his 12 games played at UCF. pic.twitter.com/ix6xT5AxQg
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) May 1, 2021
While he opted out of 2020 over concerns regarding his daughter’s health, Gowan helped his draft stock with a solid pro day. The CB ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and posted a 35.5-inch vertical jump. He also put up 13 bench press reps and ran the three-cone drill in 6.86 seconds.
“I feel I’ll be the Tom Brady of the corners,” Gowan said after being drafted. “I think I needed this in my journey and the way I approach the game. I want to say thank you for the wait, actually.”
Gowan could have an opportunity to fight for playing time right away when looking at the Cardinals cornerback room.
With Patrick Peterson off to Minnesota, Byron Murphy, Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford are considered the top corners on the roster.
Injuries, however, have kept Alford off the field the last two seasons, while Butler and Alford are north of 30 years old.